Understanding Per Stirpes Designations

Understanding Per Stirpes Designations

What does it mean to devise an asset, per stirpes? In Latin, this translates to “by the roots” or “by the branch,” and is a way for testators to direct the distribution of their estate if a beneficiary predeceased the testator. This is also known as “by right of representation.”

How it works

When you make a will, you automatically assume that your beneficiaries will survive you. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes your beneficiaries die before you, and have children of their own.

A per stirpes designation ensures that assets are properly distributed, even if the original beneficiary has unexpectedly passed. Let’s say you have two adult children, who each has two children of their own. You decide to divide everything equally between your adult children. If one adult child dies before you, their share will pass directly to that predeceased child’s children. In other words, the adult child would receive 50 percent, and each child of the predeceased adult child would each receive 25 percent, of your estate.

Should I make a per stirpes designation?

Per stirpes designations can help eliminate confusion from a will and can bypass intestacy laws by directing who the predeceased beneficiary’s share should be divided between. This is an easy way to specify that your bequests should continue down the family line.

For experienced estate planning assistance in Tampa, FL, contact Baumann Kangas Estate Law today.